Waiting for Godot

Another day, another memorial, another prayer circle, another media opp. My favorite quote of Emily Dickinson is “Hope is a thing with feathers that sings the song without the words and never stops at all.”   And so about 15 stand hands together in prayer while the world spins on.  I stand silently with them in my own safe room in California.

Watching the wussy gun proposals, of same old same old…shame our lawmakers.  “Red flag laws” is now the new mantra.  “Get rid of the assault rifles NOW” is not even 4th on the list of powerpoint bullets.  And the line increases, as we wait for Godot?  By the way, for non-book readers who happened to open this blog, google “Godot”.  “Waiting for Godot” was a famous play, where people waited on the corner for some mysterious person called “Godot”.  How long do we have to wait on the corner?  In the play, Godot never shows up but they meet others waiting on that corner.  Maybe, just maybe, someone in the USA is going to show up with a meaningful plan that has guts and teeth and gets directly to the point:  no more assault rifles.  We are not asking for the moon.  Those that make money selling these evil devices to the public need to examine their consciences.  Let’s put them up on a conversation on the media about why they continue to do it.  Waiting for a politically correct Senate to pass a law that could significantly reduce carnage is still not happening either.  Let’s prattle on about red flags and more wussy laws that don’t take the automatic weapons off the table. No one is discussing the elephant in the room.  Pass the law, folks, get rid of the assault rifles that killed so many wonderful people in SECONDS.  Red flag laws won’t do it.

New Zealand passed a law in 48 hours.  Assault rifles have no place in any community anywhere.  How dare you Senators not to put that issue as Number ONE in the list of to dos.  Come out of your vacay rentals and expensive summer houses, and fix this in a way that makes us proud.  There, my peacenik tendencies are firing up.

The media opps of memorials and gore and conversations are now formulaic.

 

Network Redux

To those who were alive and kicking in 1976, the movie “Network” claimed Academy Awards, but also changed a lot of ways of thinking.  The eternal quote “I’m mad as hell and I’m not taking this anymore” is an example.  The exquisite scene where people nationwide opened their windows and shouted that quote is, as many would say, an iconic bit of film.

Let’s ditch the politely political term:  “we need to have a conversation”.  Let’s get down and dirty.  Proactives march, write Congress and call their own Congressmen and women.  Let’s stop being put back to sleep with repeat drawling of the media.  Rhetoric is rhetoric, but let’s get real Americans.  WE HAVE A PROBLEM.  This wasn’t brown and black folks harming our sacrosanct white environs.  It was white, may I shout WHITE Supremacists.  WITH AUTOMATIC RIFLES.

FIRST, let’s get rid of the Assault Weapons that spew death in seconds.  In New Zealand, it took a prime minister two days, that’s 48 hours, to outlaw automatic weapons, and she continues to forward the action on this legislation

What if?  What if we actually got real and admitted that our country of the noble and brave and free is just another sleepy rhetoric.

Let’s ditch the headline  “Mass Shooting”.  Let’s replace it with “MASSACRE”

The definition of massacre is:   (from Oxford)

Noun:  “an indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people”

Verb:  ” deliberately and violently kill (a large number of people)”

synonyms: slaughterbutchermurderkillannihilateexterminateexecuteliquidateeliminatedestroydecimate, kill off, wipe out, mow down, cut down, cut to pieces, put to the sword, put to death, send to the gas chambers;

Let’s get clear that we need to be proactive, open those windows, and shout:  I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT TAKING IT ANYMORE.

Let’s fix legislation.  Let’s not vote for people who blather about gun rights while retaining automatic rifle legislation.

Breaking news?  oh yeah.  It will all happen again and again and again until we accept we have a problem and hit the streets and voting polls to fix it.  NOW.

 

 

 

Cyclic Insanity

Today, I turned on the TV and got to witness LIVE the latest of 3 gun massacres this week in the good ole USA. And the beat goes on. The NRA will have yet another denial and this will be another driveby of denial. On my blog I wrote something about gun control. It was written at the time of Sandy Hook, in Connecticut. I would resubmit and start the count, time after time. I’ve given up since there are so many gun massacres, it appears cyclic, and oddly habitual: it happens, people film with their phones, send the footage to the media, and over and over it is played: terror in the heartland? and then the flower altars begin. And nothing changes.  I grieve for the loss of perfectly wonderful people. I grieve for the loss of their families.  I grieve for the stupidity of the masses addicted to one more wild scene repeated over and over on the media.  Yesterday, I got to see a poor woman in a body bag. And per usual, the scene was repeated over and over and over.  Sound and video bytes now play repetitively.  In truth, they always have.  NOW, we get to see the gore upfront and personal, a dead woman in a body bag.   Shame on everyone who watches the media and does nothing.  How about we all make a list and put it next to our to-do list when we go to the market.  Only this list will name all those lost in gun violence.  Let’s not forget them by turning away AGAIN.  Even the media is addicted to moving on rapidly. After all two to three days and its on to the next media hype.  Let’s set our alarm clocks for the next time.  After all, it’s cyclic. Oh and let’s turn the channel to something else to avoid having to think about what WE have become.  A nation of voyeurs and altar builders.

Get off your butts world!

OK, I’m visiting a friend at a senior park.  I decided to do a deep dive into every activity they have here.  You know:  research what the oldies are up to.  A confession? In my world, I have an entire book of excuses why I can’t walk 2.5 miles in my pristine forest.  Among other things, the lady mountain lion might get me or a she-bear with cubs could attack me.  That’s highly creative with a tinge of truth.  So here I am in Southern California, the land of high energy and high impact dollies with blonde hair and short shorts, and did I forget the exquisite tans?  But I’m in elderville, after all.  These folks are ancient to the millennials.  And so am I.

So I ponied up to the exercise hour.  One day is walking, the next chair yoga.  I smiled.  What a bunch of pansies, I thought.  Of course, I never included myself in the pansies.  After all, who needs all this exercise hype?

And then Rosie walked in.  She is 92 and counting.  As I watched her do all 4 rounds of the walking impact whatever you call it, I suddenly realized that she is my heroine.  She was quoted as saying: “Don’t give up…We’ve worked hard to get here, There is NO GOING BACK.”

So,  Rosie is my new heroine.  If she can hang in there, so can I.  And by the way, there are no pansies in the crowd that shows up.  They are all dedicated to getting as much exercise as they can.  And glory hallelujah, there isn’t an exercise Nazi in the bunch.  They are all supportive of taking it slow, but doing whatever one can to keep moving.

Maybe our senators and political aspirants need to show up at an elder aerobics class. It might freshen their persepective.  Go team!  Go Rosie!

On Nuns and Forks

I was born of an Irish Catholic father and a Swedish Christian scientist mother. It engineered a hybrid DNA: One of passion and rebel, wild and wooly immigrant from the Emerald Isle fiercely clinging to God and religion while the alternate strand was a quiet gentle healing woman who ALWAYS stood in MY wings and was truly the wind beneath them.

In truth, both loved me dearly as the baby girl that arrived at Child Position No. 2.  The Irish vaccination, however, took.  It became my inner and outer drive, a living too large in a small world.

Convent Bound

I wasn’t quite a daily communicant.  That particular ritual had diluted itself decisively over the years since early grammar school.   However, my Irish Catholic inheritance returned frequently enough to unsettle my rebellious buffoonery with co-ed education.  So on the day of my appointment with my favorite nun at my favorite convent, of my favorite order, I dressed somewhat demurely.  I didn’t over amp the space with a Peter Pan collar, but the very essence of ladylike efforting hung in the air.

Ringing the doorbell at the convent felt somehow momentous.  I knew I had crossed that fine line and would depart this auspicious meeting with clarity as well as decision.

Sister Ann Jude, a large and sturdy Polish woman appeared with her larger than life joviality in the standard habit of the Immaculate Heart order which consisted of black and blue with starched white accents.  It was such a gorgeous habit, I couldn’t help but admit.

As we sat in the formal living room of the convent, the nun politely inquired about why I had come.  I searched for words and then blurted out, “I think I want to be a nun.”

I was not prepared for the thoroughly shocked look on Sister Ann Jude’s face.

“Good Lord, Geraldine,  You can’t mean it!”

The almost nun  offended replied, “As a matter of fact, I do mean it.’

“Oh darling, I didn’t mean to offend you.  Frankly, you’ll fail in one of the three vows.

I immediately thought, Celibacy, but wasn’t quick enough to finish this thought before the nun countered.

“And it’s not celibacy OR poverty.  It’s Obedience!  You have such a strong will.  Promise me you won’t enchain it with any vows.  Go live happily ever after, love your Lord, but live FREE!”

At that moment, SHE had drawn a line in the sand.

Later, as I drove off in a vintage VW with an American flag on the back (it was the sixties after all), I couldn’t help but wonder.

Jeez, I’m 21.  I’ve come all the way for heaven’s sake to the nuns who trained me to be a good little Catholic girl.  I’ve knocked on the door and they damn well don’t want me.  Screw this! I’ll find my own way to God and the little green angels. 

I gunned the engine and careened around the corner to the on-ramp of the only freeway during that time.

Returning back to my apartment, I blared jazz on the tape deck and tears ran down my cheeks.  I felt abandoned by the most High.  Should I try a different nun, a different convent, a different order or was this holy woman right?

It was ten minutes before I realized I had turned off automatically toward the beach.  I careened again into the parking lot at Malibu and screeched to a stop.  I flung my sensible high heels into the back seat and quickly ran across the hot asphalt to the awaiting sand.

Time would tell.  For now, I was completely undone.

Looking back at that moment in time, I realize humorously what a Sound of Music moment we had created together.  Here I was a wild coed meeting with a sacrosanct nun complete with rosary beads on the side.  I was truly at a crossroads in my life and I was seeking counsel.  The hybrid, once again, was battling with virtue versus passion.

Sister Ann Jude saw it clearly and called it as precisely as a commentator at a football game.  But it wasn’t touchdown OR fumble, it was a pass about to be made.

She, herself, left the convent for an auspicious career in bioscience.  After all, it was the decade of Women’s Lib and the nuns felt it too. She acquired an auspicious assignment at Duke in stereoisochemistry.  I couldn’t even pronounce it.  Now here’s the cool part of payback.  Sister called me to go shopping with her for clothes.  Unfortunately,  I was out of country when the call came.  Now wouldn’t that have been cool:  dressing a study Polish ex-nun at Lohman’s or Nordstrum’s rack?  Later she married and produced a fine son and I proudly named her God Mother at the Baptism of my first daughter.

Oh and as a wrap, I went directly on from that day forward to dutifully ignore any potential vow of Obedience.  Chastity and Poverty were like see saws balancing precariously in the wind.

 

Clouds and Solteras

OK, I admit to an experiment of sorts.  I’ve stashed myself at the foot of a spectacular cloud forest in Costa Rica.  I’m alone and even the birds are a bit shocked at my rather meager collection of Spanish phrases,  but hey, that is what experiments are designed to be: meanderings into the unknown.

While other expats spend way too much money sitting at perfect sites along the beach, drinking inordinate volumes of umbrella drinks, I count the toucans and ask them to keep on soaring.  I’ve walked this walk before:  solitary (soltera, single babe) on other jaunts worldwide.  Some might be way too quick to view me as some wizened old bitty with wiry hair and smelly old thrift store clothes.  I have to confess:  I brought the whole enchilada:  just in case I was invited to meet el presidente or you know the drill, a night out among them.

A night out among them at this stage of the gig is a bit tremulous.  I live up a long muddy cobblestone road, and then down another equally precarious jaunt down a dark path.  No thank you.  I’ll hang with my toucans.  Oh and I adore my mosquito net which I hauled in my suitcase.  Twenty bucks at Amazon and worth every penny! I recline while mosquitos wait eagerly outside to pounce.  I picture myself as Meryl Streep in “Out of Africa”….waiting for Robert Redford.  He hasn’t arrived yet but one can light the lamp and hope.

Writing retreats are cool.  They engender comradery and so many thought provoking inlets while writing buddies wax poetic.  The solitary route bespeaks of monks and monkettes and talking to God.  Hell, I’ll talk to the wee hummingbirds that buzz my laptop daily.  Napping when I wish, rising in the middle of the night to write, wandering along the path next to the thundering river?  all mine and no I don’t spend multiple hours sharing on Facebook.  It’s my walk for now.  When I need to engage with another human, I’ll put on my happy coat and meander beyond the gate.  My Spanish is somewhere between horrible and hey she’s improving.  Expats are few and far between.  It’s kind of a difficult choice I’ve made, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A gecko just crossed the doorstep.  He is always watching me from the ceiling and then meanders down to stare at what I am writing.  I wish I could do that ceiling maneuver but as a homo sapiens, it just isn’t our gig.  So I”m here.  Sometimes I listen to the beating of my own heart.  Sometimes I remember God knows what of my rather unique life.  Memoir? maybe but I’m actually not that self-absorbed.  I’ll stand at a distance and write someone’s story but with another name attached.  For now, this is more than enough,  yes, enough is a tremulous word,  MORE THAN enough suits me just fine.  And Mr. Redford, if your GPS has misdirected you to another cloud forest, so be it.

 

Freedom Earned

It was now clear that the door was swinging open widely:  “Catch me if you can” was the prime directive.  Suddenly life had become more alive. Nothing surrounded me except my own personal joie de viv. The need to behave, conform and worst of all fit in were now shed like last summer’s stretched out bathing suit.

The sheer guts it took to keep walking, in fact, skipping forward was now a game of spiritual aerobics.  All the happy camper things I had learned so long ago, that had been shelved for enforced behavior mod and believing in the corporate song and dance were now awakening again.

Life would certainly be intriguing. If nothing else, I’d do what I’d always wanted to do:  live off shore in a cool place (to be defined) and WRITE!  Wheels up!